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Craving Acidity

I’m not complaining – complaining is futile, as things always can be worse than they are. I’m just stating – this is not my kind of weather. I don’t like it. I don’t like this stuffed hot air, so dense that it can be cut with the knife.

Don’t think cutting air with knife would be very effective. I guess there are better tools for making that hot stuffy air less noticeable. One of the best ones I know is acidity. No, I don’t mean rubbing myself all over with the slice of lemon, or drinking copious amounts of the lime juice. Of course I’m slowly nudging towards the main subject of this blog – wine. And one of the wines which possesses this refreshing, “hot-air-cutting”  acidity is Muscadet from Loire.

Here is couple of interesting facts about Muscadet, both the wine and the region. Muscadet is a region in the Loire valley in France, located near town of Nantes, very close to the Atlantic coast. Muscadet wines are made from the grape called Melon de Bourgogne. For the most of the cases, French wines are named after the places where they are made (Bordeaux, Burgundy and so on), with exception of Alsace, where the wines  are called after grape varieties. Muscadet is yet another exception – the name of the region “Muscadet” comes from musk-like taste of the Melon grape – the wine actually doesn’t exhibit that musk-like qualities, but nevertheless this is where the name came from. Muscadet is relatively young appellation, established in 1937. It consists of few sub-regions, out of which Muscadet Sèvre et Maine is the largest. As Melon grape is pretty neutral by itself (and supposedly it was introduced in the area with the purpose of being distilled), the wine is often made using the Sur Lie method, where fermented juice stays in contact with lees (by-product of fermentation) for the duration of 4-6 month or longer, and then the wine is bottled right of the lees without racking or filtering – the goal of the whole sur lie concept is to create fuller-bodied wines (and the process is well regulated, as you would expect it in France).

Enough theory – let’s talk about wine which can cut the hot air. 2011 Chateau de la Chesnaie Muscadet de Sèvre et Maine (12% ABV, $10.99) had this perfect acidity, refreshing and tantalizing. The wine was clean and light, with nice minerality and creamy mouth feel (due to the sur lie aging), but none of the residual sugar (if you like perfectly dry wine, this one if for you). Drinkability: 8-

Muscadet wines are considered excellent pairing for shellfish and seafood dishes in general. So the decision was made to complement this wine with mussels – cooked in that same wine. Cooking mussels is one of the simplest things you can do, so here it is step by step description, in a few pictures.

Step 1 – saute sliced onions, shallots and minced garlic in olive oil:

Step 2 – add a cup of broth (I used vegetable broth) and 3 cups of Muscadet wine, put in the mussels. Cover, wait until the liquid will be boiling and then cook for about 5 minutes, or until most of the mussels will open (those which will not open you have to discard – they are most likely spoiled):

Step 3 – serve with few a lot of slices of baguette and Muscadet wine – don’t let a single drop of that delicious liquid to be wasted – make sure you have enough baguette:

Was that simple? I think so. I can also tell you that it was tasty, and the wine worked perfectly with the mussels (surprise, surprise).

In case you saw my previous post about suggestive labels, 2011 Lobster & Shrimp Muscadet de Sèvre-et-Maine (12% ABV) was the wine I decided to try as part of my “hot-air-cutting” quest – it is also a Muscadet wine. This wine had perfect acidity, touch of tropical fruit (just a touch), nice minerality and it was soft and round. Drinkability: 7+. This wine paired with mussels almost as good as the previous wine, may be slightly under-performing with that touch of tropical fruit.

Last but not least I want to bring to your attention 2011 Walnut Block Wines ‘Collectables’ Sauvignon Blanc, Marlboro, New Zealand (13.5% ABV, $11.99). Wine like this one made New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc famous and worth seeking – this ‘Collectables‘ is a classic. Hint of grapefruit (a hint – nothing more and nothing less) on the nose. Perfect balance of fruit (grapefruit, lemon) with minerality and vibrant, live acidity. Very enjoyable. Drinkability: 8-. And just take a look at that label (again) – is this a wine you would be curious to buy, or what?!

This is where my heat-and-humidity fighting story ends. I hope I armed you with some tools for when the next heat wave will come over. But I will be glad to hear your “cool-off” stories too! Cheers!

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  1. December 28, 2012 at 4:12 pm
  2. December 28, 2012 at 4:12 pm

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